As the weather changes and we move from summer to fall, food and beverage trends also shift. Instead of hot, summery drinks and recipes, consumers are looking for festive offerings that prepare them for the holiday season. In the pre-Halloween season, all eyes turn to Oktoberfest, which is back in full swing in 2022. So, let's look at the hottest trends for beer and fall festivals for this year and beyond.
Did you know that the first Oktoberfest was held in 1810? The original celebration was in response to the royal wedding of Prince Ludwig in Munich, Germany. However, the festival was such a massive success that the Germans decided to host it every year. Over time, word about Oktoberfest spread, and now it's celebrated worldwide.
Stateside, Americans have taken to this German tradition and turned it into a raucous good time. In fact, if you go to Munich, you likely won't see as many Oktoberfest celebrations there as there are here. Americans love an excuse to drink, especially when the beer is so good. At the original Oktoberfest, attendees will drink almost two million gallons of beer during the 16-day festival. That's a lot of brew!
However, more beer is consumed in the US during the same period because the celebration happens from coast to coast. Traditional Oktoberfests exist across the country, from California to New York.
While Oktoberfest is the crown jewel of reasons to drink holiday beer, it's only the start of a busy season for retailers and foodservice establishments. Now that we're coming out of the pandemic, consumers are eager to get back to their normal drinking habits, although there are some notable changes this year, including:
Pumpkin spice takes over the store shelves starting in September, and beer is no exception. While this spice hasn't dominated the craft brew industry (yet), there are quite a few varieties available, such as the Punkin Beer from Dogfish Head.
Germans like to drink Pilsners and other light-colored beers. So, while IPAs are still having a moment stateside, many drinkers opt for European-style brews during Oktoberfest. Many breweries will even produce their own "Oktoberfest" ale.
Gone are the days of beer choices being limited to Budweiser vs. Coors. In the modern era, customers want vast selections of small-batch beer that will tickle their tastebuds and deliver a refreshing buzz. So, operators need to adapt their storage solutions to fit more varieties of high-quality beer kegs.
Why stop with just a pint of beer to accompany your meal or appetizer? Many breweries are choosing to infuse their most flavorful beverages into various menu items. While sweets are an easy option, some operators are offering sweet and salty dishes as well. As long as the food pairs perfectly with a good Oktoberfest brew, restaurants can expect to see some hefty returns.
Overall, these trends indicate that consumer demand is higher than ever and that foodservice operations need to keep up. Unfortunately, with supply chain issues, inflation, and labor shortages still abound, many establishments are struggling.
Fortunately, technology can help fill these gaps and improve one's profitability. For example, having The Keg Lifter in your bar or restaurant makes it easier and safer to load and unload kegs into the back storage area. Now, instead of requiring multiple people, save labor by having a single person can fill the stockroom without risking injuries or spilled products.